Let me welcome the alumni of Alfa Fellowship Program, especially those, who having successfully finished their training this year. I hope that the acquired by them in Russia academic knowledge, professional expertise and the Russian language skills would be valuable in their future work and provide for their career growth in all areas of their activities. I believe that having achieved high public and private business appointments, the American specialists would make their contribution to the strengthening of good partnership relations between Russia and the USA.

The project launched by Alfa-Bank in 2004 is in many ways a unique one, deserving our full support. The successful implementation of such programs as Alfa Fellowship makes its weighty contribution to the cause of turning the exchanges of Russian-American young specialists into a “two-way street”. Knowing the realities of modern Russia will undoubtedly improve mutual understanding between the Russians and the Americans, helping to overcome old stereotypes. It is important that our partners abroad, including those in the United States, will have an objective view on what path is pursued by Russia, and on how its economy is developing.

Let me voice a hope that the number of young US specialists coming to us for knowledge will grow year after year.

Taking the opportunity, I want to wish all the alumni and organizers of the Program further success and professional achievement.

S. Lavrov

Moscow, 7 May 2008